March 25, 2007

Sunday shorts.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret "This 534-page doorstopper is no ordinary kids' book, for sure. With its nods to the graphic novel, the flip book and the storyboard, it is an ambitious tribute to early cinema that some have already dubbed a masterpiece and a work of genius," writes Elizabeth Ward in the Washington Post, noting, too, that there are rumors claiming that Martin Scorsese is interested in adapting Brian Selznick's novel. "It's such a likeably earnest book that one wishes it were so. But the truth is that The Invention of Hugo Cabret is more about the razzle-dazzle of novelty than any particular artistic merit. The first movies transfixed people too, but that doesn't mean their plots weren't mostly pretty hokey and their characters stiffer than a girder. Just so, in Hugo Cabret, the method of telling outshines the tale."

"Jonathan Lethem's seventh novel, You Don't Love Me Yet, is a parable of sorts about the ways in which art is created and commodified by a process of borrowing, stealing and transformation," writes Amy Benfer, introducing her interview with the author for Salon. And of course, she asks him why he's offering the rights to the book "free to the filmmaker who presents him with the best proposal by May 15. In return, the filmmaker will agree to pay Lethem 2 percent of the film's budget when the film receives a distribution deal, and allow the rights to the novel to return to the public domain - for the free use of anyone, including other filmmakers - within five years of the film's release."

Sunshine "As a sensory experience, it's overwhelming," proclaims Mark Kermode in the Observer. "But perhaps more importantly, Sunshine also harks back to a time when sci-fi turned its attention not toward the hallowed teen market but toward the heavens.... [I]t falls within a grand tradition of adult-orientated science-fiction which is haunted by the question of divinity, whether as a presence or an absence."

"[T]oday Killer of Sheep is widely acknowledged as one of the most insightful and authentic dramas about African-American life on film, as well as one of the earliest examples of the politically aware black independent cinema that was taking shape in the 1970s." Dave Kehr checks in on its restoration and learns why it's taken six years to secure music clearances alone.

Also in the New York Times:

"No one can state with absolute certitude whether or not RFK took advantage of [Marilyn Monroe's] fascination with the Kennedys and then embarked on a short love affair with her," concedes Mel Ayton. "What can be stated confidently is that no credible evidence exists which can tie the Kennedys (nor, for that matter, the Mafia) into a murder plot." His case for the defense in a 2005 piece for Crime Magazine is far more thoroughly argued that any of the pieces I pointed to last week.

"Several factors have brought about an increase in the professionalism of Israeli filmmakers and a subsequent rise in the quality of Israeli-made films. First, let's look back at the history of the Israeli film industry." Hannah Brown for Israel21c.

Ten Canoes "Beyond a doubt, it is the most eccentric movie you will see this year. Less expectedly, it's also one of the most enthralling." The Telegraph's Sheila Johnston talks with Rolf de Heer about Ten Canoes. Via They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?.

"You get the impression speaking to [Thelma] Schoonmaker, a bubbly, warm, vibrant woman, that perhaps she's just adept at dealing with difficult men," notes Cathy Pryor in her long profile for the Independent.

"It's hilarious and unsettling: The joke, which deftly avoids gay baiting, is on straight men." Gina Piccalo riffs on Blades of Glory and its contemporary "context. Sexual identity is more of a public and political issue than it's ever been."

Also in the Los Angeles Times:

  • Suzanne Rico: "[Ann] Reiner, 31, is trying to create a program through which the Sudanese can document their lives on videotape, telling their own stories, in their own words, to the people who could benefit most from them - other Sudanese. The project will put cameras in the hands of those who have experienced the genocides, the HIV epidemic or gender-based violence first-hand. Reiner believes the minidocumentaries they create will be invaluable teaching tools."

The Hoax

Chuck Tryon on The Prisoner, or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair: "Because the war in Iraq has now lasted well over four years, I'm not terribly confident that it will receive nearly the audience or attention that Gunner Palace did, but I think it deserves a wider audience, if only because it's telling a somewhat more difficult story about the war and its effects on Iraqi civilians."

AFI Dallas

Highlighting his own picks, Blake offers a "Quick Guide to AFI Dallas" at Cinema Strikes Back. And at Twitch, Peter Martin interviews Midlothia director Bill Sebastian, reviews the film - and Berkeley as well.

J├╝rgen Fauth and Marcy Dermansky's DVD roundup comes with extras of its own. Look for "More."

Online listening tip #1. Egg City Radio: "Spotlight on John Carpenter." Via filmtagebuch.

Online listening tip #2. The Ruling Class at CineFile Video.

Online viewing tip #1. Frank Darabont sets off an earthquake on the set of The Mist and you can watch him at AICN. Via Jennifer DeFilippo at Cinematical.

Online viewing tip #2. Eugene Hernandez's SXSW Music in just 26 seconds.

Online viewing tip #3. At the DVblog: Seventeen Evergeen's "Haven't Been Yourself (Lucky Number Music)," directed by Encyclopedia Pictura. Wow.

Online viewing tips. "Famous Balloon Movies" at Cartoon Brew. Wow times 6.

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Posted by dwhudson at March 25, 2007 1:51 PM